Constipation After Childbirth: 4 Common Causes

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Postpartum constipation is a type of constipation that occurs after giving birth. If you’ve been pregnant, then you probably already know how common this is during and after pregnancy. If you haven’t, then we have some not-so-fun news!

Most doctors consider the postpartum period to be 42 days after giving birth. That’s nearly two months! During this time, it is extremely common for the postpartum period package to include constipation. And there’s a few reasons why.

Luckily, postpartum constipation doesn't last too long!

Studies have shown breast milk to be 90% water!

First, Dehydration and Lack of Movement

One the most common causes of constipation is dehydration. Staying hydrated is especially important if you’re breastfeeding because you’re not just hydrating yourself but your baby too! 

“Luckily, breast milk alone provides all of the water required by young babies for survival.”

Make sure to increase your daily water intake for you and your baby’s sake!

Although you needs to rest, lack of movement can disrupt digestion. So, how do you move your stomach muscles while still resting? 

Well, there’s diaphragmatic breathing or “belly breathing”. Instead of inhaling with your chest, you inhale downwards towards your stomach. It is very similar to the form of breathing we do while sleeping, which puts our bodies into a “rest-and-digest” state. In this blog post included instructions. However, this breathing can also be done laying on your back. 

Second, Stitches and a Healing Body

Regardless if you give birth naturally or through cesarean, most people refrain from pushing in fear of ripping their stitches. Also, pushing during delivery may stretch or even damage your pelvic floor muscles. Those muscles help you control your bladder and bowels. But “a woman’s pelvic floor muscles support her womb” 

Weakening your pelvic floor during delivery is very common. And a weak or damaged pelvic floor results in the inability to have a successful bowel movement. Remember, your body is healing. So, give it time. 

Experts say these effects are temporary but it’s always best to share your concerns with your doctor. 

Third, Changes in Your Sleep and Stress

If you don’t know already, changes in your sleeping patterns can cause constipation. Why? Your body needs rest! Without it, you’ll begin to feel irritable and stressed. We’ve talked about stress and constipation in this blog post! 

As a new parent, your sleeping patterns are bound to change. Which is bound to lead to fatigue, stress, and constipation. Just one of the many delights.

Fourth, Pain Medication

Constipation is a common side effect of certain pain medications distributed after delivery. Usually, what fixes normal constipation, like hydration and high fiber foods, won’t help this one. We highly recommend speaking with your health care provider to find the best treatment for you. 

Sum it All Up

Be proud of yourself, you gave birth! *round of applause

However, childbirth is extremely straining on the body so it’s going to need time to heal before things can feel normal again. Fortunately, postpartum constipation typically goes away within a few days. If you’re concerned, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.

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